What would a custom VO2 max progression look like?

I just don‘t like the longer ones. Not that the shorter ones are way easier, but for me personally it helps to know that I am through the „hardest“ one or the one that I like the least at the beginning. If I have 9 workouts in my calender, I try to bring in a bit of variation. I don’t like to do 9 similar workouts.

The power is slightly higher the shorter the intervals are. But you have to figure out on your own what intensity you can hold.
Don‘t follow any % of whatever recommendation for these kind of intervals. That‘s also the reason why it‘s recommended to do it without ERG mode. Just do it as hard as possible.


I don’t give 3 days in a row quite as often as I used to, but still a fair bit. The idea behind starting long is to take advantage of being fresh, since these efforts are maximal the fatigue builds pretty quickly. Something else that’s changed since those podcasts came out is that I also look for an interval range where someone can perform best, generally thinking of 4-6min, 3-5min, and 2-4min as ranges.

I might have said exactly this? Might not? There’s nothing about in relation to max HR anyway, since that can change quite a bit based on training status, fatigue, hydration, etc. so I don’t like to have an absolute number in mind. I just like to see a consistent pattern of HR through the intervals. Example:

She hits 177-179bpm consistently, though max HR for the last year is around 200bpm, it’s rare and there’s no consistent trackable relationship between max HR on super hot days or while doing off the couch testing (where most people usually see their max HR for the year in the fall) and max HR while doing these efforts. Hope that explains my thought process a bit better.


I’m interested to know what’s the reason for this change.

Not entirely sure I had a conscious thought process, things evolve over time. That’s a problem with not having a “thing” is it’s free to change as more experience and new information comes in, and I don’t even realize it’s happened until someone asks me about something from a few years ago. Not a great answer, sorry about that. Maybe part of it is fatigue management? Might be that I’ve been giving more doubles? Different ways of blocking up aerobic stress during a week or month? Your guess is as good as mine.

So I might ask you or anyone reading the same question. Do you feel there’s benefit to doing certain workouts back to back? What do you feel like is better to hit fresh vs what “feels more aerobic” to paraphrase something I hear from clients all the time?


I think it depends on the athlets ability to recover if he can handle these 3 in a row block without compromising quality.
I would look at the available data outputs. Can I still spin the high cadences, do I have comparable power values, is my heart rate response similar. I also evaluate RPE, how I feel during the day. I also track morning HRV. All these metrics help me to make the decision to push through or take an easy day.
If you can not recover enough then you may compromise quality and better distribute the block into smaller chunks where you can recover in between.

I agree that I wouldn‘t recommend such a block as a blueprint or „the thing“ for everybody.
Rather it‘s something you can experiment with and be willing to make adjustments. Nobody has the same training history nor recovery circumstances

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Gave the high cadence a shot!
Wow - That made a huge difference in heart rate and perceived effort. My heart rate definitely rose faster during the course of the interval and I consistently hit higher max heart rates. The perceived effort also felt higher. Power on the other hand was significantly down versus when doing the same workout at my self selected “natural cadence”.

I don’t know if this is good or bad, but I’ll do this VO2 block in this manner and see what happens!


It’s good. :+1::grin::+1: